I am the resurrection and the source of all life; those who believe in Me will live even in death. Everyone who believes in Me will never truly die. Do you believe this? – John 11:25-26 (VOICE)
As a young girl, my family was very involved in our local church. Between kids choir, Sunday school, youth group, prayer nights and vacation Bible School, there weren’t many days of the week that we didn’t walk through those large wooden double doors. So naturally, I came to know Jesus at a young age. I was fortunate to spend my entire life learning about Him and how to trust Him absolutely. I memorized Scripture, books of The Bible and hundreds of songs over the years that reinforced God is who He says He is and He means what He says. Even through some very difficult times, I was always able to immediately trust God with any and all situations. Faith seemed pretty simple really.
Then in August of 2011, something happened that changed my understanding of faith. My brother, who had just celebrated his 30th birthday and the birth of his daughter was killed while serving our country in Afghanistan. As you can imagine, the news was like a literal punch in the gut that leaves you disoriented and gasping for air. It was nothing like being in the hospital with my grandparents the night my granddad drew his last breath and went to be with Jesus – no that, that was beautiful. That was a memory I cherish. This was something altogether different. Ugly. Unnatural. Senseless.
Honestly, this was the first time in my life that faith was hard. I was confronted face to face with what I so easily believed up until that point. I found myself searching The Bible for every Scripture I could find that might give a clue as to where exactly my brother was at that point and what his beautiful face might look like now. Answers to questions that had always seemed somewhat arbitrary were now at the heart of my pursuit. I had to know for sure…like for sure, for sure.
In the book of Matthew, Martha finds herself in a similar situation. You can hear the raw frustration in her voice as she speaks to Jesus in verse 21, “Lord if you had been with us, my brother would not have died.” Jesus answers Martha with the truth that anyone who believes in Him will live, even in death. Then He asks her a pointed question, “Do you believe this?”
Jesus would be no less God or have no less power if Martha did not believe Him. He asked the question because she needed to hear her answer. More importantly, she needed to know the answer in her heart.
At that point in my life, faith was not an option. It was either faith or despair. This was a different kind of faith. It was a working faith, in other words, it took work to have this kind of faith. It took resolve. I had to know to my core that “God could be trusted forever and absolutely.” (Is. 55:11)
When you find yourself in desperate situations, have the courage to ask yourself what you really believe. You need to know the answer. Resolve to have a working faith; a faith that causes you to live, think and act differently.